Meridian teaches the fun side of science

Fifteen Meridian teachers used Play-Doh, electronic circuits and Oreo cookies to help their colleagues develop ideas for livening up science classes.

Meridian STEM expo
Students work with laptops during last week’s teacher showcase in Meridian.

The teachers presented their strategies Thursday at the Meridian Joint School District’s fall teacher showcase, which was devoted to science, technology, engineering and math lessons.

More than 100 teachers showed up, along with dozens of students and parents.

Librarian Tina Roer devoted her showcase presentation to Little Bits – magnetically connected, color-coded electronic components that give children a fun introduction to electronic circuits.

Roer and each of the educators who presented during last week’s showcase previously won a grant for their classroom projects. As a condition of receiving grant funding, they had to agree to share what they’ve learned.

Roer said this showcase’s STEM theme was timely.

“I see language, math and science all being interconnected,” Roer said. “If we can get kids where they can articulate that connection, they will be better off.”

The event was hands-on, as children tinkered with laptops, stacked Oreo cookies and tapped away at iPads to call up videos of classroom experiments.

District officials organize a new showcase with a new theme every quarter as a way to offer new resources to teachers.

“We’re training to foster a culture of innovation in the school district,” said Meridian Superintendent Linda Clark. “This isn’t a top-down approach. This is coming from the grass roots up.”

In the end, the central message teachers reinforced was real-world ideas can make science exciting.

That certainly held true for fifth-graders Issac and Liam, who used Oreos and iPads to help discuss a unit on averages, means, medians and modes. As part of a global learning project, the two boys and teacher Ashley McDowell performed experiments such as estimating numbers of pumpkin seeds or attempting to stack Oreos up to the ceiling.

Meridian STEM expo kids
Liam and Issac use an iPad to share videos of classroom experiments.

When they finished the projects they compared their findings with classrooms from Canada, Australia and other countries across the globe.

“It’s more fun because when you’re done you get to eat,” Liam said.

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